Capturing the Beauty of Grand Canyon National Park

One of my favorite places to photograph in Arizona is the Grand Canyon.  Each and every time I take a trip to the canyon, I’m simply blown away by its size and beauty.  I almost feel like each time I come into the park, I laugh and tell myself, “man I didn’t remember it being this big!”

The Grand Canyon comes alive at sunset. This photograph depicts the golden color of the Canyon walls and the beautiful color clouds in the sky

If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, make sure you allow plenty of time to be there.  There are several amazing view points scattered along the south and north rims.  Also plan on spending at least sunrise or sunset at the Canyon. The Grand Canyon really comes to life at sunrise and sunset.

As a photographer, I really enjoy watching the canyon walls turn golden, as the sun gets lower on the horizon. Its at this point that you may see light rays peaking through all the various rock formations creating a spectacular site!  Once the sun sets, the clouds overhead will often turn to those beautiful colors that Arizona Sunsets are known for.

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Tips for Photographing the Grand Canyon

Believe it or not, the Grand Canyon is one of the more challenging places I’ve ever photographed. Light is constantly changing, and weather can also be just as dynamic.  This kind of environment can create a very challenging environment to photograph.

One way to decrease the effects of these challenges, is to make sure you allow plenty of time at the Canyon to scout out different view points.  My favorite view points are from the east side of the south rim. (Desert View, Navajo Point, and Lipan Point).  The reason I really like these views are because you can really see the Colorado river (nice turquoise color) from these spots.  However, keep in mind that some view points may be more picturesque on different days, so scouting is VERY important.

  • Be patient: The light in the Canyon is constantly changing.  Wait for the perfect light and take your shot.
  • Use a tripod: The Canyon is the most spectacular at sunrise and sunset.  Using a tripod will help stabilize your camera and increase the likelihood of a sharper photo.
  • Hike around:  Some of the best views are far away from most of the touristy spots and parking lots.
  • Stay for Sunrise or Sunset: Trust me, the Canyon looks the best during these times.
  • Don’t be afraid to zoom in: Capturing a rock formation up close could be pretty cool.  These photos are great souvenirs and can help you remember the details and different layers you’ll see at the Grand Canyon.
  • Be mindful of weather: The weather at the Canyon is quite dynamic.  Temperatures can be significantly cooler then they are in the lower deserts of Arizona (Phoenix).  Its not uncommon for it be 110+ degrees in Phoenix, while the Canyon is a chilly 55 degrees.  Also listen for thunder, because hearing thunder means lightning is close!  Lightning strikes can frequent the areas in and around the canyon, especially during the Arizona Monsoon (June 15th – September 30th).

For more information about Grand Canyon National Park, please visit their official website here:

http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

My Grand Canyon Photos

My Grand Canyon Time lapses, Videos, and Films